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India’s outsized coal plans would wipe out Paris climate goals

The Wire reports: If India builds all its proposed coal-based power plants, then it might not fulfill its promise made under the Paris climate agreement, says a new study conducted by CoalSwarm. The country is currently the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and its largely-coal-based energy sector contributes two-thirds of those emissions.

China’s ‘new Silk Road’ could expand Asia’s deserts

From Chinadialogue.net: China’s massive Asian infrastructure network of proposed new roads, railways, ports and airports, linking 65 countries to itself must grapple with the same problem as the ancient Silk Road it’s been named after. Sand. Deserts present as big a problem along the “Silk Road Economic Belt” as when camel caravans ambled across Central.

Innovation is overrated; it’s maintenance that matters more

Andrew Russell writes: The most undervalued forms of technological labour are also the most ordinary: those who repair and maintain technologies that already exist. This shift in emphasis involves focusing on the constant processes of entropy and un-doing– and the work we do to slow or halt them, rather than on introduction of novel things.

How to steal a river: New York Times on India’s rampant sand mining

The hundreds of millions of Indians migrating from villages to cities require up to a billion square yards of new real estate development annually. Current construction already draws more than 800 million tons of sand every year, mostly from India’s waterways. All the people I spoke to assumed that much of it is taken illegally.

The global road-building explosion is shattering nature

Bill Laurance writes: An unprecedented spate of road building is happening now, with around 25 million kilometres of new paved roads expected by 2050. An ambitious new study that mapped all roads globally has found that roads have split the Earth’s land surface into 600,000 fragments, most of them too tiny to support significant wildlife.

Power plants are making thousands go blind in Chhattisgarh

Catch News reports: Chhattisgarh’s Janjgir-Champa region, once famous for paddy cultivation, is now emerging as the state’s power hub with several power plants coming up in the area during the recent years. While fuelling the state’s economic growth, dust and ash emitted from these power plants are turning thousands of local people blind from cataract.

The end of nature: Why India is becoming a drier, hotter and angrier country

Samar Halarnkar writes: In Nature in the City, her evocative exploration of Bangalore’s natural history, Harini Nagendra, says, “… residents engaged in practices such as placing a plate of warm rice (often with ghee added) outside to feed crows, leaving water baths for birds in the summer, and sugar and milk for ants and reptiles.”

India’s sinking $50 billion to build hundreds of coal plants it doesn’t need

Greenpeace reports: India remains committed to one of the most aggressive programmes to build new coal plants (some 600 of them) that the planet has ever seen. Yet, 94% of the coal power capacity currently under construction will be lying idle. What’s more, solar power’s now cheaper than coal power, by the government’s own admission.

The dying gulmohars of Bangalore and urban India’s forbidding future

The de-greening of India’s cities is creating water-starved heat-islands. Bangalore may be India’s most drastic example, but the short-sighted assault on greenery is nationwide. Projections show that in 2030, Kolkata’s vegetation cover will be just 3.37% (from 34% in 1980), Ahmedabad’s 3% (from 37% in 1990) and Bangalore’s 14% by 2020 (from 46% in 1992).

How industrial civilisation is (literally) built on a foundation with an expiry date

Chris Martenson writes: The main issue is simple: putting in steel reinforcing bars lowers the cost and weight of installing reinforced concrete, but at the severe expense of reducing its lifespan. In other words, literally everything you see today that’s made of concrete will need to be replaced within a hundred years of its installation.

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